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Treasure-Hunting in the Archives Turns Up a Diamond in the Rough

November 25, 2009

In preparation for a researcher who was visiting the American Law Institute Archives, I was reviewing some Executive Director files when I came across the following letter, excerpted here:


Who’s it from?

Archival collections can contain, literally, tens of thousands of items.  For this reason, it is practically impossible to catalog each and every letter, report, or minutes.  We can help researchers locate relevant materials by drafting a finding aid, many of which appear on the Archives’ website.  But it’s not uncommon to come across, quite serendipitously, blockbuster items like the one above.

Fortunately, the discovery of important documents like this letter from FDR isn’t a total game of chance in the ALI Archives.  Whether it was the work of the former Archivist, or the efforts of a savvy Dean Lewis, this and other letters from the late president are in a folder labeled “Original Letters/Presidents.”  If you’re interested in taking a look at this or any other correspondence between Lewis and President Roosevelt, contact me to schedule an appointment in the Archives.